Spiral Staircase E Book


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With more than 35,000 spiral staircase combinations to choose from, Salter Spiral Stair provides each of their clients with the spiral staircase of their dreams. This eBook provides all of the information you could possibly need to understand your options and to learn more about the value of a beautiful and aesthetic Salter Spiral staircase. For more information, please visit http://www.salterspiralstair.com/

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Spiral Staircase E Book

  1. 1. For Spiral Stair Pricing, Call 1 (800) 368-8280 Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  2. 2. Table of Contents Learning Curve: Spiral Stairs vs. Straight Stairs 3 Spiral Stair Roundup: Choosing the Right Spiral Stair 6 Taking Your First Steps: Choosing the Right Spiral Stair Company 10 Ordering a Spiral Stair: Blueprints for a Pain-Free Purchase 15 Pricing a Spiral Stair: How High Should You Go? 18 BOCA, UBC, IRC, and IFC: Decoding Spiral Building Code 20 Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  3. 3. Learning Curve: Spiral Stairs vs. Straight Stairs Some people (these, of course, being people with extraordinary taste and refinement) can merely glance at a space or set of schematics and see the potential achievable through adding a spiral staircase. For the rest of us, here’s a breakdown of this potential in terms of architecture, function, and affordability: For Spiral Stair Pricing, Call 1 (800) 368-8280 Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  4. 4. An Architect’s Perspective: Despite the complex ratios and formulas architects must rely upon, nothing trumps the human eye—and, as the adage goes, there’s no accounting for taste. Whether a spiral stair juxtaposes a room’s symmetry or simply looks intangibly “cool,” taste is as good a reason as any to opt for a set of spiral stairs. Still, however, many benefits are far more tangible in terms of architecture and aesthetics—chief among them, a spiral’s visual footprint (or lack of one). A good portion of the stairs we create at Salter Spiral Stair, for instance, end up in homes with spectacular beachfront or backyard views… views which would otherwise be obscured by the width and opacity of conventional stairs. If you have a favorite window or design element, then, and would rather preserve your view of it than bisect it diagonally, going with a set of spiral stairs is a professional solution with long-term rewards. A Resident’s Perspective: Think about our go-to ways of describing our property. Whether we’re detailing our dream home to a real estate agent or beaming about the one we’ve just purchased to our friends and family, we often turn to measurements in terms of bedroom counts and square footage, do we not? What this signifies is that we care about the size and usability of our spaces—and, of course, we pay for them accordingly (costs per square foot, etc.). Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  5. 5. Think now about the impact of a staircase upon this size and usability. The smallest stair you can find at www.salterspiralstair.com has a footprint of just 12.25 square feet. The footprint of a comparable straight or conventional staircase? Try 50 to 60 square feet. When considering the usage of your space—and particularly in already tight areas (e.g., decks and patios) or areas with high costs per square foot (e.g., New York, San Francisco, and everywhere else aside from disaster sites)—spiral stairs are often the best bet in terms of getting the most out of a space. A Monetary Perspective: The areas described above, of course, translate also to dollar values. You can’t put a price on beauty, for example, and a room with an extra 30 square feet of usable space is certainly worth more than a room that feels 30 square feet smaller. However, the actual cost of spiral stairs can also translate to savings. Many of our industrial clients, for example, have found that higher lengths of spiral stairs are more affordable than even the cheapest available straight stairs. And, of course, when comparing spiral and straight stairs, it’s important to account for quality. The cheapest wooden straight stair is always going to be less expensive than a quality spiral stair—but comparing quality to quality is the only way to contrast the true value of your investment. Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  6. 6. Spiral Stair Roundup: Choosing the Right Spiral Stair Mixing and matching all of the customization options available at www.salterspiralstair.com gives you more than 35,000 possible combinations for your staircase—or an infinite number if you take into account our powder coating and color matching options. We’re proud of these offerings, of course, but at the same time realize they can be intimidating for new buyers. To help narrow down your sea of choices, here’s a breakdown of the preliminary considerations you’ll have across the industry: For Spiral Stair Pricing, Call 1 (800) 368-8280 Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  7. 7. Interior vs. Exterior: This might be the simplest division on our list (and that over which you’ll have the least amount of control due to your environment), but it’s important to know the characteristics that define each type of spiral. Traditional interior options often include wood, steel, and iron, while traditional exterior options include galvanized steel and aluminum. For each type, you’ll want to look for quality in not just material but construction. For our interior wood stairs, we source a variety of hardwoods known for their marriages of durability, versatility, grain pattern, and design complement— but there’s more at stake in a spiral than just the wood. The shaping and construction of this wood is equally important. To start, we recommend evaluating each option from afar. Will a lighter or darker grain match your design and décor, for example? And do you prefer the look of something that’s stained, painted, or mixed (e.g., stained steps and painted balusters)? Once you’ve narrowed down your “look,” you’ll next want to zoom in much closer on the individual design and construction elements. Does “solid wood” really mean “solid wood,” or is the inner column really metal or partially metal? Similarly, if you’ve decided to go with wood because of its natural appearance, you’ll want to look closely at the spiral’s assembly. Will metal bolts and fasteners be visible, taking away from the look you’ve chosen, or are they organically hidden to honor the materials? For interior metals, you’ll want to take a similar approach. Steel is more traditional and classic looking, while iron is more rustic and Victorian. However, these are only the starting points; select manufacturers offer specialized powder coating and the ability to not only add color to these metals in a manner resistant to wear and chipping—but to completely customize these colors to specifically match your individual space. Similarly, designs will vary as with Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  8. 8. wood models in terms of the small details. Inquire whether the spiral’s welds are hidden from sight, and ensure you’re fully informed of all assembly requirements. Will spiral stair “kits” require specialty tools and contractors, or are they shipped ready-to-assemble with everyday tools? Finally, for exterior options you’ll need to decide between galvanized steel and aluminum. Galvanized steel is heat-treated carbon steel that’s been coated with a protective barrier of zinc. The resulting product is maintenance free, durable, and extraordinarily cost effective. While galvanized spirals often ship with a definitive metallic grey finish, they can easily be painted using ordinary paints and primers. Aluminum stairs, conversely, offer more customization options and the ability to more strategically accent their settings. They can be powder coated in any color (stock or custom) and adorned with wood accents, and the resulting finish is resistant to rust, extreme weather, and chipping. Want more photos? In our web gallery, we’ve assembled dozens of examples to showcase each of these spiral types as customized for different settings. Finish Options: *To learn more about available custom woods, please email us, use our contact form, or call our sales department at (800) 368-8280. For metal spirals, meanwhile, you have the option of natural iron or galvanized finishes (add photos below) or color finishes (via painting or powder coating). One benefit to using galvanized steel is that it can be painted with multiple coats using consumer grade paints and primers, giving owners the flexibility to paint and repaint their stairs at will. To help with this, we offer an option to ship our galvanized spirals professionally primed and ready to Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  9. 9. paint. Powder coating, on the other hand, is done prior to assembly and uses proprietary industrial processes, essentially “baking in” the color and giving it an edge in durability, uniformity, and maintenance (they’re 100% maintenance free for life). Remember, of course, that not all colors are created equal. Make sure your stair is available in not just “red” but the red matching your needs—and ask manufactures if their processes are outsourced or proprietary and from where they source their colors. (See our standard Pantone® options here.) Continuous vs. Adjustable Sleeves: One choice you’ll have with most spiral types is whether to go with a continuous or adjustable (standard) sleeve. In order to attach each tread or stair to the central column, adjustable or standard sleeve stairs use a cuff that slides over the column. The less expensive of the options, this creates a notched look due to the added thickness of the cuffs. For a sleeker look and relatively inexpensive upgrade, we recommend opting for continuous sleeves, which use custom-cut risers to create a flush appearance. In order to achieve this uniform width, each sleeve must be manufactured according to the exact floor-to-ceiling height measurements of your project. Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  10. 10. Glossary of Individual Components: Balusters: Handrail caps: Vertical columns connecting the outer edges of each step with the End-caps that bring a handrail to its stopping point at the bottom of upper handrail. Balusters come in a variety of decorative shapes the staircase. Solid wood handrails are shaped as a single piece and sizes and serve also as a safety barrier to comply with national and do not require caps, while vinyl, aluminum, and brass options building codes. offer classic domed, hooked, or scrolled options. Column caps: Treads: A single cap or “crown” that sits above the spiral’s central column. Each individual wedge-shaped stair. Treads come with a variety of Choices vary from minimalistic black vinyl caps to ornate brass or upper textures including stenciled, non-skid diamond-weave, and wood spheres and cast iron statuaries. grated (suited for drainage of water, snow, and ice). Handrails: Tread coverings: Horizontal (for landings) and sloped (for spirals) hand railings. Secondary optional materials that sit above each individual stair These are highly customizable and typically available in vinyl, tread. Common options include solid wood, flakeboard (for carpet aluminum, brass, and solid wood options. applications), and non-skid surfaces. Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  11. 11. Taking Your First Steps: Choosing the Right Spiral Company After more than forty years as premiere specialists in spiral staircases, we’ve learned a lot about best practices in terms of product quality and client satisfaction. Here, then, is our checklist of what you should look for in a spiral stair manufacturer: For Spiral Stair Pricing, Call 1 (800) 368-8280
  12. 12. _____ A positive Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. The Better Business Bureau ranks companies according to their client rapport and operating ethics, assigning them grades ranging from A+ to F. Because these ratings are based on actual instances of customer complaints, company violations and misrepresentations, and time in business, they are extremely helpful in determining the overall reputation of a company. We run all of our vendors through BBB’s Accredited Business Directory and highly recommend this precaution prior to any business dealing. However, if you’re still in doubt, don’t hesitate to call the manufacturer and inquire on their ratings—reputable providers will be very conscious of both BBB’s ethics and their own BBB rating. _____ A genuine interest in your project. We’ve learned that in order to provide the best services, it helps to gain an understanding of each client’s needs and goals. Similarly, we’ve also learned that you can’t produce superlative spirals if you’re not contagiously enthusiastic about the projects these spirals are destined for. It’s for these reasons that we take great care to truly understand the scope and constraints of each client’s individual undertaking in order to afford them the best match in products, options, and services. Our second item on this checklist, then, is to ensure your manufacturer has a face and an open line to field questions and offer guidance. In short, make sure you talk to a human before investing in your home or office—and that this human feels representative of a wise investment. Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  13. 13. _____ The ability to generate custom one-off CAD designs. The advantages of seeing a true-to-life representation of your project in place of a superimposed stock image are endless. We’ve covered the 35,000+ options you’ll have when ordering your spiral stairs, so it’s important that you see these options rendered accurately. All of our designers are expertly trained in CAD, giving us the ability to take all of the guesswork out of a project by outlining it pixel by pixel. Ensuring your manufacturer provides this same service will prove invaluable, so be sure to verify whether a prospective company offers custom one-off CAD drawings or relies upon appropriated stock images or estimations. _____ Proprietary achievements. You should have an idea, by now, of the complexity that goes into designing a spiral—and this level of complexity requires continual advancement and innovation in order to stay progressive and ahead of the curve. Look for features that distinguish a manufacturer in terms of product design, strength, and ease of installation. You’ll find an overview of some of our accomplishments here; however, you’ll more importantly find them when looking closely at any of our products—from our proprietary solid-wood construction methods to the way we enclose each tread end to fortify its foothold and hide unsightly hardware. In short, look for signs your manufacturer is versed in optimizing spirals—not just assembling them. Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  14. 14. _____ A rich history of success. A company’s history is perhaps its greatest benchmark of success (and, therein, its ability to stay progressive and innovative in the face of trends and competition), so take the time to evaluate each manufacturer’s history. We’re extremely proud of Salter’s forty-year heritage for a lot of reasons—but chief among them is the satisfaction gleaned from knowing we’re in this for the “long haul” as an authority multiple generations have relied upon. _____ A specialization in stairs—and only stairs. There are numerous adages that speak to the advantages of achieving excellence in one area versus mediocrity in many—and we’re firm believers in all of them. If you see value in differentiating between dentists and podiatrists, it should only follow suit to look for a stair company that specializes only in stairs versus one with a broader focus that might do only a few stair sets per year. A specialized focus leads to specialized quality. _____ Documentation. This entire list, of course, is for naught if it’s all based on guesswork. Look for hard evidence of these achievements in plain sight. Reading customer reviews and testimonials can help bring reassurance to your findings, while viewing real-life examples of installations can give you an accurate scope of what to expect with your own project. Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  15. 15. Ordering a Spiral Stair: Blueprints for a Pain-Free Purchase While sales teams and customer service associates are fully trained to walk you through your spiral stair order and guide you through your project requirements, it helps to know what to expect (and what to prepare) prior to placing an order. For Spiral Stair Pricing, Call 1 (800) 368-8280 Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  16. 16. The first thing you’ll need is a representation of your project—normally a photograph, drawing, or sketch (or combination thereof). For new construction this will be an illustration of what’s to come, while projects such as remodels and additions can leverage existing representations. Having this in hand will give stair manufacturers the ability to render accurate drawings, make stylistic recommendations, and troubleshoot any challenges unique to your environment. Next, it is essential to take an exact measurement of the floor-to-height span your staircase will occupy. Because each spiral staircase is made-to-order for a specific location, it is important to know the exact dimensions to construct each order for a flawless fit and installation, particularly when opting for continuous sleeve spirals. Finally, you want to be ready to answer any questions regarding project preferences and timelines, so it is ideal for the decision maker(s) to make the call themselves or be present to ensure they’re taking advantage of every available option. One such question to prepare for will deal with building codes, which are essential to meet for new projects and safety compliance. We take code compliance very seriously and are experts in all aspects of national code; however, it is important to know that local codes supersede national codes, so it’s a good idea to contact your local building inspector prior to ordering your stair to ensure compliance with any modifications to the national standards. Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  17. 17. Sample questions to prepare for: - Do you need to meet building code? And, if so, have you checked with your local inspector for regional codes that supersede national code? - Do you know your exact floor-to-ceiling measurements? - Do you need an interior or exterior spiral? - Do you have a particular stair type, material, and finish in mind? - Do you know your desired diameter? - Will your spiral rise to the side of a loft/deck or an opening in your floor? Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  18. 18. Pricing a Spiral Stair: How High Should You Go? With more than 35,000 possible stair customizations, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that spiral stair prices are highly variable and dependent upon inclusive options. Still, however, there does exist one very solid truth amid all of this variance: equal prices do not suggest equal value. Our goal, then, with this piece is to give you the tools necessary to determine the value of your prospective purchases. Sales representatives will you give their price, of course, but it is ultimately up to you as an informed consumer to put these prices in perspective. Here’s how: For Spiral Stair Pricing, Call 1 (800) 368-8280 Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  19. 19. Ask About Choices: In the tens of thousands of stairs we’ve built and sold, we’ve had instances of interior spirals costing half as much as exteriors and exterior spirals costing half as much as interiors. It all, of course, comes down to the requested options. Meanwhile, comparing manufacturer-to-manufacturer can be even more confusing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to understand the reasoning behind these fluctuations. Ask why one choice is more expensive than another, or why one might be less expensive. This is the best way to ascertain not just how much you’re paying for your spiral, but exactly what you’re getting for that price. Ask About Value: In order to get the most value, you want to ensure you have the options you need for your custom project. Each time you’re presented with an option that stands to increase or decrease your price, ask about the practical differences. A powder coated stair, for example, might be three times more expensive than a primed steel stair—and would be well worth this cost for someone living on the coast; however, powder coating can be unnecessary for certain situations, leaving significant room to downgrade to something painted and/or galvanized. Inquire, then, not just about the value of an option or component, but the value this would bring to your specific project. Ask About Needs: Getting a great deal on a stair won’t matter if it’s not the stair you need, so take time to ask questions regarding how your stair will hold up to specific needs and constraints. An outdoor stair means only that it can be placed outdoors, for example; this title alone does not mean it’s been designed to stand up to salt, rain, or ice. Your goal should not be to necessarily get the lowest price, but to get the highest value for your budget. Make sure what you’re getting will suit your purposes, and make sure it will continue to suit your purposes without deterioration over time. Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  20. 20. BOCA, UBC, IRC, and IFC: Decoding Spiral Building Code While the word code in the case of building code refers to a set of systematic rules, it can also be used to describe a cryptic form of communication—which is how building codes can often come across to those outside of the industry. The good news is that code exists to keep you and your investment safe. For Spiral Stair Pricing, Call 1 (800) 368-8280 Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  21. 21. And the other good news is that while there exist four separate policies or entities overseeing spiral stair building codes (Building Officials Code Administrators, Uniform Building Code, International Residential Code, and International Fire Code), we have more than four decades of experience complying with all of them. As longtime members of the Stairway Manufacturing Association, we’re well trained in all aspects of national code and stair design and can ensure compliance with their every facet. Still, it’s important to know that local codes vary from municipality to municipality—and that these codes will supersede any of the above national and international codes. Our experts have prepared code-compliant spirals to meet the local standards across thousands of communities nationwide and are highly experienced in working with homeowners and building inspectors to comply with local policies. In order to accomplish this, however, it’s essential to first learn whether or not your local code differs from national code—so it’s recommended you consult your building inspector when ordering a spiral for code-compliant projects. Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014
  22. 22. Here’s a rundown of national codes against which to compare: - Minimum clear walking path of 26 inches. A 5-foot diameter or larger stair will provide this width. - Each tread will have a minimum of 7 1/2 inch tread depth at 12 inches from the narrow edge. - All treads will be identical. - The tread rise shall not be more than 9 1/2 inches high. - Minimum headroom of 6 foot 6 inches shall be provided, measuring plumb from the edge of the platform down to the tread below. - Landing width shall not be less than the required width of the stairway. Minimum spiral stair tread width is 26 inches. (Salter’s code platforms start at 31 inches wide.) - Stair balusters shall be spaced so a 4-inch object cannot pass between. The IRC Code permits a 4 3/8 inch space. - Balcony/Well Enclosure guardrail balusters shall be spaced so a 4-inch object cannot pass - Balcony/Well Enclosure guardrail height shall not be less than 36 inches. (If your state or municipality requires 42-inch tall guardrails, the sales order must reflect this.) - The stairway shall be equipped with one handrail on the wide edge of the tread. - Handrail height, measured vertically from the tread nosing, shall be not less than 34 inches and not more than 38 inches. - Handrail grip size: - Type I-Handrails with a circular cross section shall have an outside diameter of at least 1 1/4 
inches and not greater than 2 inches. (Salter’s standard circular handrail is 1 1/2 inch diameter. This will address the UBC minimum cross section of 1 1/2 inch diameter.) If the handrail is not circular, it shall have a perimeter dimension not greater than 6 1/4 inches. - Type II-Handrails, with a perimeter greater than 6 1/4 inches, shall provide a graspable finger recess area on both sides of the profile. For further information on our Type II options, please 
contact our sales department.
(Verify what handrail size and shape your inspector will require. Handrail size and shape are a very controversial area within the building code. We recommend that you use our standard 1 1/2″ round handrails or our 1 3/4″ x 2″ B&FG solid wood handrail to comply with the proper circumference.) - A 300 lb. concentrated load is required. (Upon request, our sales department can provide structural calculations for your job specifications.) Spiral Stair Buying Guide: 2013-2014